Bible worth reading

Old English Bible open at Isaiah

In a conversation with a Christian friend, she said that until I had walked her through what the different books of the Bible were, she hadn’t appreciated that the Bible was roughly arranged in chronological order. It made me realise that for some people, approaching the Bible is really daunting because they barely know anything about it. For others, they know the fundamentals, but there are big gaps.

Now, I grew up with the Bible and have read it pretty much every day since I was a child. So, on this page I thought I’d pool together posts that are specifically analysing Bible passages, people, or themes. Some of these dive deep, but others are more beginner-friendly, but they’re all here to help you orient yourself as you read the Bible, especially when it comes to topics relating to marriage, relationships, and women in the Bible.

This is a collection of sunlight posts: the content here aims to be refreshing and generally uncontroversial. If you’re looking for posts that analyse difficult or ‘clobber’ passages, you’d probably be more interested in the firelight posts under atonement and inclusion, or the moonlight posts under virginity, honour and violence.

If you’re looking for more reflective or sermon-style posts, you’ll find them amongst the starlight posts in delving theology plus there are a bunch of Bible-related poems and short stories in creative works.


Esther in the Bible: Surprisingly political

Book Esther In Ancient Jewish Thought by Aaron Koller

Law not patriarchy: why submission isn’t the issue in Esther and Vashti’s stories (Aug 2019)

Picture of chess board with a king piece and pawns visible with the words: Law not patriarchy: why submission isn't the issue in Esther and Vashti's stories workthegreymatter.com


1 Corinthians 15 for beginners series:

Part 1: the legal case for Jesus’s resurrection from the dead (1 Cor 15:1-11) (why Jesus’s actual resurrection makes sense for more reasons than just “the Bible says”; also, why Paul didn’t mention the women at the tomb)

Picture of a Bible open at 1 Corinthians 15 with hand highlighted sections, with the words on top: 1 Corinthians 15 for beginners: Part 1: the legal case for Jesus's resurrection from the dead (1 Cor 15:1-11) workthegreymatter.com

Part 2: resurrection as both a present and future event (1 Cor 15:12-34) (how Paul reconciled Jesus’s past resurrection with first century Jewish thought; also, why resurrection isn’t an excuse to do nothing in the present)

Picture of a Bible open at 1 Corinthians 15 with hand highlighted sections, with the words on top: 1 Corinthians 15 for beginners: Part 2: resurrection as both a present and future event (1 Cor 15:12-34) workthegreymatter.com

Part 3: resurrection is about the body – but what does that actually mean? (1 Cor 15:35-43) (what Paul meant when he talked about ‘flesh’, and how saw both continuity and radical discontinuity between our bodies now and our resurrection bodies; also why resurrection is no basis for ableism)

Picture of a Bible open at 1 Corinthians 15 with hand highlighted sections, with the words on top: 1 Corinthians 15 for beginners: Part 3: Resurrection is about the body - but what does that mean? (1 Cor 15:35-43) workthegreymatter.com

Part 4: transforming the perishable so as to inherit the imperishable (1 Cor 15:44-58) (what Paul meant by a ‘spiritual’ body, why resurrection bodies really are physical and why what we do now matters)

Picture of a Bible open at 1 Corinthians 15 with hand highlighted sections, with the words on top: 1 Corinthians 15 for beginners: Part 4: Transforming the perishable so as to inherit the imperishable(1 Cor 15:44-58) workthegreymatter.com


 

Flesh: what Paul meant when he used the word ‘sarx’ (Psst! — he wasn’t being sex-negative) (Mar 2019)

Ballet dancers in a ballroom. The man has his bare back to the camera holding the woman. She wraps her arms calmly around his body. She has blonde hair and is wearing dark red. The colour contrasts against the monochrome background of the room. Text: "Flesh: what Paul really meant when he used the word ‘sarx’ (Psst! — he wasn’t being sex-negative)"

To my egalitarian friends: please don’t hate on the Old Testament law (or at least, not on my blog)

Ancient Hebrew manuscript showing extract from Exodus with the words superimposed: To my egalitarian friends: please don't hate on the Old Testament law (or at least, not on my blog)

What exactly is a pledge? Exploring the types of commitment seen in the Bible (with the aim of later looking at purity pledges) (Mar 2018)

Silver heart bracelet worn by bride. Text: Purity pledges and the Bible, what exactly is a pledge or vow or covenant?